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Weekly Links

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9 Ways To Encourage Your Kids to Live Simply
Heal-All Skin Salve
Chocolate Body Scrub
What If This Year Were Your Last?
How to Use Acrostics for Homeschool Lessons
Travel Games: Fun Ways for Kids to Pass the Time on Road Trips
Dress Up Felt Board Tutorial and Template
35 Gifts Your Children Will Never Forget
A Book Writing Center for O
Meet The Ingalls Family… – This is one of my favorites!
Dr. Seuss Makes Me a Better Person
Velcro Blocks
Transitioning into the Big Kid Years

Ya’ll Have a Good Time Now, Ya’ Hear!
15 Conversations to Have with Your Parents

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The Magic School Bus Young Scientists Club – Bacteria and Fungi Kit

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Mamapedia had a deal in February for a one year subscription to The Magic School Bus Young Scientist Science Club and it was at least 50% off. I am all for the educational deals they have and I know how much kids love to get mail, so I decided to look into it. There were a couple people on my homeschool groups who said the price was still too high, but for us I thought it wasn’t a bad cost. You get a kit mailed to you each month with several experiments in it. And to be honest, with running a home daycare and all the other things I have to do (like raising & homeschooling my daughter and taking care of our home and outside activities), I really loved the idea of a kit being mailed to us each month for us to work on and remind us to make time for fun science experiments! 🙂

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Our first kit just arrived and this was what was inside. You get an instruction book with all the info and you get most of the tools you will need. They actually email me a few days before they send it out and they include extra tips as well as a list of items you’ll need from home. I found that to be very helpful! My daughter was SUPER excited to receive her first package! She ripped it open (with assistance from mom) and asked to do them immediately – always a good sign! I was disappointed that both of our plastic petri dishes were cracked upon arrival. I put in a call to the company about it. I think we need to invest in some glass ones for future experiments.

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In the booklet you get info and instructions for your experiments. This kit has 7 experiments which I liked, and they are spaced out to make it last for a while as well. You get a small space to record results and conclusions, but I made my kiddo a science notebook for her to record info on our experiments in more detail and keep the info from all the kits we get in one place.

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Above is her science notebook, decorated by moi. 🙂 In our house we love decorating with stickers and pictures and I wanted to make this a special surprise for her to go along with her new kit. She loves it! This provides a lot more room for kids to write and draw after experiments.

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At the back of the booklet they have more instructions for parents to assist with the experiments. It’s pretty much the same info you get on the other pages.

I’ll post again when we’ve started the experiments so you can see what they look like in action and decide if this club would be good for your kiddos! Groupon and Mamapedia have offered the half off deal so keep an eye out for it to save a lot of money. You could also follow up each kit at your local library with books on the topic covered. We plan to go in this week and get books on bacteria and fungi to help with our learning. 🙂 The great thing about this resource and most others is that you can cater it to your needs and supplement if you want to. If you have tried The Magic School Bus Young Scientists Club let me know what you thought of it!

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Reader Rabbit 2nd Grade Software Review

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I like good deals and I like educational things. So when we were at the thrift store and I found this Reader Rabbit 2nd Grade software for .69 cents I was thrilled! We got it home only to find that it won’t work with any version of Windows newer than Windows XP. Thankfully I had an old laptop with Windows XP on it so we were able to actually use it. I’ve got a lot of pictures of it while my daughter was playing it so you get to see what it is like. 🙂

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There is a map for kids to navigate the different areas of the game. This is when my daughter first started the game and hadn’t completed any levels.

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In this section kids have to follow the list of clues to put together bugs with the correct parts to label the bug jars.

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After each bug is completed correctly, it gives some information on each bug.

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This area has math problems. It starts off with basic addition and subtraction, then moves into double digits as they go along.

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In this area kids have to spell words with a selection of letters given at the bottom. Words start off easy and then get bigger as they go along.

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In this area kids find antonyms, synonyms and create compound words.

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In this area kids are in a mine car going down a track. While in the car they have to catch certain numbers as instructed and skip any other numbers. The pictures is blurred because the game was moving the whole time so I couldn’t catch a clear shot.

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This part has kids working on telling time by matching up the time on the clock and the time on the bottom to open the doors.

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This is in the same tunnels where the kids work on the clocks. The kids also have to put together words into a proper sentence to open other doors. The sentences get a little longer as they go along.

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In this last part of the game kids complete different fractions following the instructions given. After this kids win the game.

I am very happy with this software! I love the variety of things it has kids working on. It started off with easier problems and tasks and then worked up to harder ones, so it didn’t make it too complicated or too easy either. The way it was set up seemed pretty fun for my kiddo to do and the story in the game was silly and fun. My six year old daughter really liked playing it and had few complaints about it. one issue was that it did freeze every now and then, which could have been because we bought it used and it had a few scratches, or because it is an older game. Also, if you are playing it on a laptop like my kiddo was, I recommend plugging in a mouse to use instead of the touchpad. It seemed to take her longer to do things using the touchpad and the mouse made it much easier for her to maneuver and complete tasks.

All in all it was a good game, though my daughter completed it in about 3 hours. There are 3 different levels so if they complete one they can work on the others. You can find the game online from about $5 and up. 🙂

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Blu Ray Player w/ Built In Wifi – A Must Have!

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I am a firm believer in living as simply as you can with the things that you need and the things that enrich your life. I don’t live a life full of expensive things and extravagances. However, I do believe there are some things that are worth spending a little extra. One of these items for our family is our newly acquired Blu Ray DVD player with built in Wifi. We had a simple and very basic DVD player that I bought used for $10. It was all we needed for a while. A few months ago I had internet installed at home and signed up for Netflix’s unlimited streaming program as well as Amazon Prime. I may end up not keeping both in the long run, but I wanted to try them both out to see which one we preferred. I was reading on the Netfilx website that you can stream to your TV with a compatible device. I had been interested in upgrading to a Blu Ray player for a while but wasn’t sure it was worth it. Let me just say – it is SO worth it!

I rarely pay full price for anything anymore, so of course I went deal shopping. I wanted on with built in Wifi so I wouldn’t have to buy any extra things for it. And I wanted a pretty good brand because I feel with an investment of this sort it’s better to buy a little nicer for better quality and because they tend to last longer. I found a Sony Blu Ray player with built in wifi on Ebay in an auction and I won it for $59.87. I researched them and the prices and I was very happy with the amount. If you have the time try for auctions first on more expensive items because sometimes you can get them a lot cheaper.

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It took maybe 30 minutes to get all setup, which wasn’t bad at all especially since it didn’t come with instructions. I followed the info on the screen as well as on the website. The thing I love the most about it is how many things I can link to it! We have Netflix and Amazon Prime linked as well as Pandora radio. Since I run a home daycare I am often using instrumental music for the kids to sleep to. It helps a lot and usually I just grab CD’s at the dollar store. Now I have my Pandora account linked so I just press a few buttons and a huge variety of classical and instrumental music plays for my kids. I love it! And my little girl also gets exposed to beautiful music and composers as well, which I love.

With Netflix’s unlimited streaming I may not buy many DVD’s anymore. I can find just about every kids movie or cartoon that my kids would want to watch. We’ve even found some new ones that the kids really enjoy. Another huge perk is that I can watch a show for me on my laptop and my daughter can watch a cartoon on the TV. It is so convenient!

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I highly recommend Netflix’s streaming program! It’s $7.99 a month, which is less than what it would cost you to buy a new DVD each month, and it’s unlimited with a massive variety. I love that I can now cut down on our DVD’s because we don’t really need as many of them anymore and about half of them were purchased just for the daycare kids. Now we can keep just the ones we want and Netflix everything else.

If you don’t have a Blu Ray player with built in Wifi, I highly recommend getting one especially if you have children! 🙂

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